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Churches to formally merge

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

Over five years of negotiations and discussions have resulted in the merging of two of Masterton’s churches, which will be formally completed next July.

St Luke’s Union Church, on Queen St, and Lansdowne Presbyterian Church, on Totara St, are set to officially join forces once the merger has been finalised.

Lansdowne Presbyterian Church on Totara St. PHOTO/JESS MORRIS
Lansdowne Presbyterian Church on Totara St. PHOTO/JESS MORRIS

The churches have been sharing a minister for many years, but the impending merger meant a new name had to be chosen.

CrossWay Church Masterton is the new title that both churches will fall under, with new signs set to soon appear at the churches.

The merger’s deputy chairwoman, Janet King, said there were many reasons the negotiation process had taken so long.

“It’s like any merger, there’s hundreds and hundreds of details to work out.

“You’re dealing with a very sensitive issue — people have a great deal of passion for their particular church and the idea of bringing two churches together requires a great deal of skill and care to do it without offending people.”

She said it was a fact that churches were being run more like businesses these days, which often resulted in tough business decisions having to be made.

“They are a business just like any other business so you’ve got to follow the rules of the Charities Commission and Inland Revenue, and make sure that you do everything in the right timeframe.”

Financial benefits were also a major factor in the discussion process, she said.

“It’ll give the minister the opportunity to hold services at one or the other depending on what they want to do and how they want to work things.

“Financially it means that we are in a position to support a minister and other people involved with the church.”

Declining numbers at church services had also played a part in the decision-making process.

“Populations are getting older and older, and there is far less people going to church these days,” she said.

“Ten years ago there might have been 100 people at a service and now you’d be lucky to get 35 or 40, so merging two churches makes great sense for sharing costs.”

It was hoped that both churches would be used equally, but having two options would provide flexibility.

“The plan is to use both, but it depends when St Luke’s will be through all their earthquake implications and internal modernisation, and also Lansdowne Church will have some work to be done for earthquake strengthening as well.

“That’s why nothing will happen until July next year, except the name being changed.”


  1. My late father was farewelled at the Lansdowne church my siblings and I were baptised in that church my mum and step dad married there I also was married in that church also my oldest son was baptised there

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